Episodes that are very Patrick-centric are not my favorite thing. This episode isn’t an exception, but is probably the Patrick-centric episode that I enjoy the most.
It centers around Patrick wanting to win an award, for anything. When he sees SpongeBob’s huge collection of awards and trophies, Patrick just wants to feel like a winner too, which I think is a pretty relatable feeling. SpongeBob promises to help him win an award somehow, but they’re not really sure what talents Patrick has. They decide to start small by getting Patrick a job at the Krusty Krab.
The problem is… it really does seem like Patrick can’t do anything right. The famous “no, this is Patrick” bit proves that he can’t be trusted to answer the phone properly, he can’t deliver food to customers, he can’t even use a broom properly. It’s starting to seem pretty hopeless, but SpongeBob, bless his heart, is still determined to help. He starts even smaller than they were already doing, and teaches Patrick how to open a jar. It takes a while, but as SpongeBob repeats over and over “do exactly as I do”, the words eventually get through to Patrick and he’s able to copy SpongeBob and open the jar.
The next day, it seems that Patrick has taken SpongeBob’s advice to do exactly as he does to a whole new level. He’s not only started dressing like SpongeBob, he copies SpongeBob’s every move. When SpongeBob calls him out, he says that it’s the best way to win as many awards as SpongeBob. Attempts are made to get Patrick to stop copying him, but everything is resolved when Patrick wins an award at the end of the episode, for doing nothing longer than anyone. Damn, if that award were real, I could probably win it.
As I’ve said, I’m generally not a huge fan of episodes that are too Patrick-centric. I tend to prefer him in secondary roles. But I do like this episode, and I think it’s the best example of how to go about writing a Patrick-centric episode.
The biggest issue with Patrick episodes in later seasons is that they just make Patrick so… unlikable. He’s pretty much only around to cause problems for the other characters, which wouldn’t necessarily be so bad as a means of providing conflict, but there still needs to be some way for us to like Patrick. He still needs to be funny or sympathetic or something so that we don’t wind up disliking a character we’re not supposed to dislike.
Patrick is funny in Big Pink Loser, and I think it’s also easy to sympathize with him. I think it’s natural to want to feel like you’re the best at something, especially if you’re friends with someone who’s apparently good at everything. Patrick’s insecurity and craving for any kind of validation is actually pretty relatable. Also, while he does constantly mess things up in this episode, he’s not really harming anyone but himself, so it’s hard to feel annoyed.
So yeah, as far as Patrick episodes go, I’d say this one is the best.
Unable to find anyone to play with, since all of his friends are busy, SpongeBob blows a vaguely human-shaped bubble, that he cleverly dubs Bubble Buddy, to spend time with.
He first takes Bubble Buddy to the Krusty Krab, where Squidward is working. Squidward is annoyed that SpongeBob chose to come in even when he has the day off, which raises a few questions. This isn’t the only time we’ll see Squidward working while SpongeBob isn’t (as a sidenote the only time I can think of where it’s the other way around is Nasty Patty, where Squidward is entirely absent and not even mentioned). I’m guessing this is because they occasionally want to use the Krusty Krab as a setting without necessarily having SpongeBob be at work. Makes sense, right? I wonder though, is there a third employee at the Krusty Krab? Who takes over SpongeBob’s duties when he has the day off? This episode makes it look like Squidward takes care of SpongeBob’s job as well when SpongeBob is absent, but how can that be? Squidward’s ability to make Krabby Patties fluctuates depending on the needs of the episode, but he is most consistently shown to be bad at making them so it doesn’t make a lot of sense that he would have to make them in SpongeBob’s absence. Does Mr. Krabs help out? Are there other employees that we’ve never met? Also, at the beginning of the episode, SpongeBob wanted to ask Squidward to play with him but found a note on Squidward’s door that answered his question (“no”), but SpongeBob knew Squidward was working today so why would he even bother asking? He had to know Squidward wouldn’t even be home??
Oops, I’m thinking too hard about this, right? Moving on.
Right, so, SpongeBob makes Squidward do a bunch of ridiculous things for Bubble Buddy, and at the end of it all he doesn’t even get paid. It’s bubble money.
SpongeBob then takes Bubble Buddy to Goo Lagoon, where they manage to piss of everyone there. A mob forms, led by Squidward who is for some reason at Goo Lagoon too, and they decide the best course of action is to pop Bubble Buddy. Just when they’re about to do it, however, Bubble Buddy suddenly starts speaking. Apparently he’s been alive this whole time, though he’s decided to leave because things are getting too weird for him.
So pretty much everyone has pointed this out, but earlier in the episode, there’s a joke where SpongeBob and Bubble Buddy bury Scooter, and then SpongeBob leaves and tells Bubble Buddy to dig Scooter out before the tide comes in. Of course Bubble Buddy doesn’t and Scooter dies. Off screen, but still. At the time we assume that this happened because Bubble Buddy is just a bubble, but then at the end we find out that Bubble Buddy was alive the whole time. Bubble Buddy just let Scooter die, yo. He just stood there and watched it happen.
Like most things in this show, it’s best not to think about it too much.
Anyway, this is an episode that I would put into the “meh” category. While it does have a few good jokes, this episode kind of bores me and it’s easy for my mind to wander when I watch it.
The ending of the episode seems to be kind of polarizing. Some don’t like the ending because it raises too many weird questions, or because it just seems like a cop-out. Others think it’s a funny twist and nothing to get too worked up about because it’s probably Not That Deep. I’m somewhere in the middle. I do get why people might think it’s confusing or a cop-out, I might even agree, but I also kind of… don’t care.
You know, I said that this season was my favorite, but so far there haven’t been any episodes that I’m really into. That’s going to change very soon though.